Are you feeling like Christmas has lost its sparkle? Does it sometimes seem that December comes and goes in a flurry of consumer activity? Where can a person go to immerse themselves in the Spirit of Christmas this December? How about trying the Carlyle Dickens’ Festival?
There is something for everyone on this sparkly weekend: Horse drawn carriage rides, lighted parades, street vendors selling scrumptious food, afternoon old time dances, themed theatre productions, English High Teas, Victorian hand-made market, magicians, children’s productions, photos with a man in a white beard and red suit AND a free festival of live music in the Fezzywigs’ pub, all topped up with a town dressed for Dickens, and shop-keepers featuring their best shopping deals of the year. The Carlyle Dickens festival is the place to be Dec. 6 – 8, that’s for sure.
And if you come- maybe consider coming on the Friday, and staying over to really dive into the festival, and then enjoy the free breakfast offered on Saturday morning and all the town has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.
As with most events in rural Saskatchewan, the Dickens festival has been run for 17 years by a dedicated committee of volunteers whose mission it is to help to perpetuate family friendly community spirit and to support the organizations and businesses of the local community. This is a serious celebration of the volunteerism which is alive and thriving in rural Saskatchewan.
Carlyle volunteers participate by decorating the town in period garb – from flower pots to light standards, dressing up the storefronts and lighting the giant tree in the center of main street – and decorating themselves and the townsfolk by whipping up period costumes and accoutrements!
Each of the other volunteer organizations in town is also offered an opportunity to participate and to fundraise for their individual organizations as well: maybe one will run a special photo booth, or perhaps others offer carriage rides, or, like the Catholic Church, whose members serve over 640 gallons of home-made chowder for hungry festival attendees!
The Cornerstone Theatre group has been performing creative musical variations of The Christmas Carol for 17 years – 2019 features a Pirate adaptation! (tickets sell very quickly).
Donations at the free Saturday pancake breakfast, as well as a percentage of the ticket sales from the Cornerstone Theatre troupe is donated directly to the food bank in an effort to reinforce the Dickensian message of caring for the least among us during this time of year.
The many businesses of Carlyle pitch in and participate as well, putting their best faces forward, offering shopping deals for those getting ready for Christmas giving, donating financially to the festival, and welcoming in the many tourists which the festival attracts yearly.
Co-ordinated by the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party , The Dickens Music Festival is hosted in the Fezzywig’s pub on Friday and Saturday, and features the vibrant local musical scene present in the South East corner of the province.
Showcasing everything from folk music, country, gospel Christmas music, traditional Old Tyme dances, local youth performing troupes as well as family bands, First Nations’ recording artists, Juno award winning players; the festival is a diverse and dynamic mix of excellent musicians.
The tweener musical acts feature some up and coming amateur musicians and diverse buskers cruise about the town, adding their music for the entertainment (and the donations) of local festival-goers.
Not only is the entire festival local, but all of the proceeds stay local as well, and circulate around to support the various activities which make living in a small town such an excellent opportunity. Folks can check out the full schedule on the Carlyle Dickens Village Festival Facebook page, or by watching the Carlyle Observer for details.
We hope to see you there – and don’t forget your Victorian garb.